Saturday, December 3, 2016

A  Cry of Disgust over the appointment of Betsy DeVos
By:  Sandra Parker 



Hello everyone! My name is Sandra Parker. I am a public school teacher. I am highly educated in my field holding five degrees from the University of Michigan; all education degrees. I am writing this open letter of thanks to the president elect to show my appreciation for appointing me as the overseer of all medical institutions in this country! I believe this nomination is partly due to the fact that I donated $245,000 to his campaign fund, but hey, that is how the American political scene plays!

I have always been fascinated by the medical field. Hospitals and health care have interested me very much since I was a young girl. I care deeply about our national health and am thrilled that now I will be put in a position to oversee their daily operations and to make sure that the best medical care is available to all of you. I have been outspoken about my feelings on traditional health care. Never mind that the likes of me (and my family and friends) have never stepped foot inside a public hospital or a traditional doctor’s office.

You see, I believe deeply in alternative medicines to fix what ails you. I firmly believe in holistic medicines, herbal medications and have a personal shaman who I visit whenever an ailment plagues me. But, I want you to know that I am passionate about public health care, mainly public hospitals and physicians who earn degrees from traditional public colleges. I will take good care of the public health system even if I don’t personally honor any of their practices, I will take good care of them (wink, wink).

I know some of you are concerned about my lack of qualifications to take on such a position…after all, my degrees are all in the education field. Hey, I am asking you to throw caution to the wind once again as you did on November 8th and pick someone who has no qualifications for the job and help me and our president elect “make America great again!”

Of course, the above is a satire.

Yes, I am referring to Betsy DeVos.

Mrs. DeVos comes from privilege. Her father owned and employed one quarter of Holland Michigan’s residents. She attended parochial schools and then moved on to Calvin College, a product of the Christian Reformed Church. Mrs. DeVos has a degree in Political Science and Business Administration. One degree in a field that is not related to the education field at all. One degree only. She came from money and married into money. Her husband ran for governor in our state and lost. Her own children also attended private schools. Not public. Yet, this woman has said (self-acclaimed) to have a strong passion for public education. She has never worked for a public school, for that matter, she has never worked for or in any school. She does not believe in or supports public education. She believes that public school teachers are overpaid (heck yeah, I laugh all the way to the bank every two weeks and take vacations in my private villa in the coast of Monaco). She is a strong for profit education proponent. She has invested millions of dollars in Christian education. She strongly believes in taking public school funds and placing them into Christian schools or other such private schools. She is a strong proponent of the Common Core, a system that has taken down the public school’s ability to succeed.

There, in a nutshell, you have her beliefs and background. Her nomination makes sense to the president elect because???

The history of public school in this country dates back to the 1700’s. The public school system was created to assure that children, no matter their social status would be able to obtain an education in a free school system. The decline of public school education became evident in the last decades. Teachers like myself and their unions are often blamed. I have argued before the fallacy of this belief, but will once again, for the sake of argument spell out the real reasons why we are failing American students.

No one that can’t come in my classroom and do my job with their eyes closed should tell me how to do my job! I went to a prestigious college to obtain my education, passed classes and earned my degrees with perfect grades while working full time and raising four children alone. I passed every single state test (MTTC) to obtain my state approved certificates. I take classes and professional developments and pay money to keep this certificate current. I dance the dance to appease our state regulations. I know my content areas, I know special education, how to write an IEP to suit individual student’s needs and test them for deficits using a complex test and by filling out paperwork that the state created. I can co-teach and re-teach every content area to my students. I know them personally; I know their lives—I know their needs. I have worked in less than ideal conditions. In classrooms that have windows that are painted shut and when in the heat of early summer and late fall, the heat actually makes students sick. In the winter, I wear coats and sometimes gloves, my students are freezing while learning. The plumbing in these buildings let out a stench that my nose has become immune to. I have to forgo teaching content daily to test, test and then test some more. Never mind that Johnny and Mary can’t do simple math and have basic reading skills (because of their chronic absenteeism or other factors I can’t control), they must be fluent in Algebra according to the Common Core or else I am not doing my job and will not get to keep my job because a huge component of my evaluation is how well Johnny and Mary does on such tests. I don’t have time to go back and teach important concepts to my students no matter how hard I try because what I do each teaching moment is dictated by someone’s ideas on how and what I should be teaching…someone, who like DeVos, has no clue on what my students know and need to know before I get them to the step the state and the DeVos like people believe my students should be in. You want me to produce high scoring students? Let me do my damn job people, the way I was taught to do represented by the over $150,000 in student loans I incurred and pay for monthly!

The AFT and MEA represents teachers in this state as their unions. Blame them all you want; again, you know nothing about them if you do. They take whatever little dignity they can scrape off the floor in Congress and state level houses of governments leave behind after their sessions and work with it to bring some respect to my profession. I pay for their existence out of pocket, not you. So, it is my choice.

I could no more oversee public health care than the likes of DeVos can oversee public education. This is the ever loving truth that no one sees. Self-serving career politicians with their hidden agendas is what has ruined the public school system. Tell me, would you go to a school teacher for treatment for heart disease? I think not. The question that begs an answer is why would you rejoice to see a career politician run your local public school systems? Oh, by the way, let’s bring up DPS for a moment…in a not so distant past, those who were appointed by Lansing to clean up the mess, proved to be corrupt and pocketed tons of education dollars…another example as to why politicians don’t belong in the education component.


I hope that all of you who are happy with the appointment have plenty in the bank to pay for private schooling for you children and grandchildren, because this appointment will be proverbial nail in the coffin of public schools. I am going to use a part of one of your favorite quotes in closing: “Keep drinking that tea in the name of making this country great again!” You are the sheep that follows the bell-wether; in this case DeVos and her cronies. God help us all.

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